Top 3 Variations of Kettlebell Curls


The best ways to curl a kettlebell

When it comes to an arm workout, a lot of times gym goers will gravitate towards pieces of equipment such as dumbbells or barbells, and even cable machines, but neglect another piece of equipment that can help pack on muscle mass, kettlebells. That’s right, they are not just for kettlebell swings and other functional exercises, you can use these pieces of equipment for old school exercises, curls included.

It’s no secret that so much equipment exists and is so widely available, that it can be hard to know what to use for your workouts, whether you are in a gym- or if you are working on building a home gym, what to buy. No matter what the use case may be, going through your options for gym equipment can always help open your eyes to different exercises and variations. And when it comes to kettlebells, we can’t ignore what they bring to the table.

dorian yates kettlebell training
Image courtesy of Envato

Kettlebells are interesting pieces of equipment, as they offer a unique grip perfect for strength building and high-intensity exercise, whereas the grips on dumbbells and barbells are not as welcoming for such exercises. Kettlebells are great, as they give us a chance to enhance all areas of our gains, both strength and aesthetic wise, with a versatile and convenient piece of equipment.

We will get into the benefits of kettlebells and break down how they can be utilized for different variations of bicep curls.

Benefits of Kettlebells

When it comes to kettlebells, it is important to make note of the many benefits associated with this option for fitness equipment. Knowing exactly what they can do can help you utilize them to their max potential.

Promote strength & power: Kettlebells are great for improving power output, which can transfer over to other lifts. They force the user to focus on stability, balance, and the mind-muscle connection, which really puts tension on the muscles and forces the body to adapt both strength and an aesthetic wise.

Improved balance, stability, & coordination: The weight distribution on kettlebells is much different than a dumbbell or barbell, which forces you to focus on the mind-muscle connection and really work to improve technique and form for enhanced coordination and stability. 

This doesn’t only affect our training and performance, but also everyday life as well.

Simple & convenient tools: Kettlebells are pretty simple as they do not involve changing weights. They also are easy to use, making them great for workouts as they bring added versatility to increase your results. As you build strength and stability, you can start to acquire more dumbbells to add to the rack and increase the intensity of your workouts, earning you better results.

Variations of Kettlebell Curls

Kettlebell chalk dust
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When it comes to performing the kettlebell curl, there is not one right way to do it. You can do multiple variations that will incorporate different parts of the muscles, let’s break down the different variations of bicep curls you can do with kettlebells.

Kettlebell Hammer Curls

First on the list, is almost guaranteed to blast your forearms just as much as your biceps. Hammer curls with the kettlebell will require you to reduce the weight by about half of what you would typically use for hammer curls as these are incredibly challenging. This is nothing to be ashamed of, as the lighter weight combined with constant tension on the muscles, will leave your biceps absolutely aching at the end of each set. Hammer curls with the kettlebells are something guaranteed to give you a feeling you are not used to.

In order to complete the movement: 

  • Grip the kettlebell like you normally would 
  • Bend your elbows and curl the weights up until your forearms are just above parallel to the floor with your knuckles and the bottom of the kettlebell is facing what is in front of you
  • Lower and repeat

The movement finishes with the kettlebells in an extended lever arm position, and it is very difficult but effective for placing constant tension on the biceps and the forearms throughout the entire movement. 

Standing Kettlebell Bicep Curl

This is a pretty simple movement, as it is the same as a regular standing bicep curl you would do with a barbell or dumbbells. You can do them alternating or together, and the kettlebell forces you to focus on the stabilization aspect of things.

In order to complete the movement: 

  • Grip the kettlebell like you normally would 
  • Bend your elbows and curl the weights up until your forearms are just above parallel to the floor with your palm facing up and the bottom of the kettlebell is facing the ground
  • Lower and repeat

Incline Kettlebell Curls

Much like incline dumbbell curls, you will need an incline bench for this movement and they can be done simultaneously or one at a time. Incline curls in general are a movement that will isolate the biceps and really put tension on them, but now with the use of a kettlebell it pushes you to focus on the stabilization and mind-muscle connection. 

  • Sit on an incline bench at about 60 degrees
  • Grip the kettlebell like you normally would 
  • Bend your elbows and curl the weights up until your forearms are just above parallel to the floor with your palm facing up and the bottom of the kettlebell is facing the ground
  • Lower and repeat

You also will need to lower the weight slightly on this to really get a good squeeze throughout the movement. Another thing you could try is incline hammer dumbbell curls, these will be even harder!

Our Recommendation

If you happen to be in the market for kettlebells, whether you are stocking a home gym or adding to the inventory at an actual gym, it can be hard knowing which ones to buy.

ONNIT Kettlebells 

ONNIT Kettlebells are high-quality and versatile to optimize workouts and meet your training needs.

ONNIT Kettlebells provide versatility and help in optimizing your workouts. They serve as a high-quality product for all your training needs, as they are made from gravity cast for durability and weight consistency, plus a powder finish allows for great grip.

Kettlebell Curls Wrap Up

kettlebell workouts
Image courtesy of Envato

Overall, kettlebells are such an underused piece of equipment. They bring a variety of benefits to the table with their incredible versatility and ability to put stress on the muscle groups that you may not typically get with standard dumbbells or barbells, or even cables. The muscle recruitment with kettlebells is far different and opens the door to even more gains. When it comes to choosing what you want to use for your workouts, do not forget to add these great items in.

Will you be trying kettlebell curls?

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.